Must Read Old Book Entitled "Desert War" by Australian War Correspondent Alan Moorehead

  • From the main title alone, one might think the book was contemporary.

    But the full book title clarifies: "Desert War: The North African Campaign 1940-1943. The book binds three of war correspondent Alan Moorehead’s books published in 1940 (1 book) and 1943 (2 books) into a single Middle Eastern bench mark of why everyone fights there any chance they get. Its a great read.

    And it is amazing to think that the book was first published as a trilogy in England 1944 as “African Trilogy,” and then again in USA as “March to Tunis” in 1965, and a third time as “Desert War” in the USA and elsewhere in 2001 just in time for 9-11.

    I will leave the details of this magnum opus of the North African campaign to those WWII buffs that want to know what the Middle East is about, rather than want to continue with the current exercise in official confusion. But I don’t want to mislead you here. This Moorehead book iis hardly a muck raking book. He won an OBE for it, mates. This book WAS the official story back in a time in the history of the West, when Western leaders were confident enough in the legitimacy of their actions to report on them in more than talking points.

    Let’s just say “Desert War” is Alan Moorehead compiling his reporting for a Melbourne, Australia, daily for whom he peripatetically hopscotched all over the Middle East and North Africa to tell the run up to, and the Allied conquest of, the oily rim of North Africa and the greater Levant prior to the Allied invasion of France and Italy, as said Euro countries being used as stepping stones to crush Germany, which had, afterall had the temerity to dare to join hands with Japan over land and sea to try to deny to Great Britain and USA the Middle East oil and the oil tanker shipping lanes from the Middle East. If it all sounds a little familiar, as geo-strategic drama, it should. With 3/4s of a century of hindsight, this story is geo-strategic drama without a curtain act so far, just a series of temporary cessations of combat, while mil-tech sets are changed, and new plot points are player through. Regardless, the same countries keep getting the shit blown out of them.

    But perhaps the single most foreshadowing take away in “Desert War” is found at the end of the three books in the form of a map of the Middle East region with an inset map of the region of Palestine (then soon to be divided into Israel and Palestine), Lebanon, the then named TransJordan, Syria and Iraq.

    Most unsubtly delineated is the British Petroleum pipeline from Kirkuk, in The Iraq, through Syria to the port of Haifa in what was then Palestine and would become Israel. The map ALSO shows the northern fork in the pipeline that branches off through Syria to the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, situated just a little north of Beirut, Lebanon. One cannot look at the map apparently from 1943 and not be struck by the fact that the current savage fighting and likely war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by many in Syria likely occur within a stones throw of the old pipeline that everyone has wanted to control at least since the late 1930s. If only the map had foreseen the gas line right of way that Qatar would like to route through Syria today, and the former headquarters of Joule Oil with all the former high ranking Neocon types as board members, and the Hamas lines of communication with Iran, and the US-Israeli sorties into Syria, and the Russian military support for Bashar al Assad, why, we would be saying Alan Moorehead were as farsighted as Nostradamus. Quite a pithy map indeed, as maps go.

    What was it Santayana said?

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